Those were heady days, when the excitement of graduating from the police academy and "hitting the streets" was awaited with great anticipation.
Probably the biggest mistake that leaders make is not properly using the other leadership resources at their disposal. We have a chain of command in law enforcement for a reason.
A recent e-mail from a reader asked me how a leader brings out the highest levels of motivation from police officers. It seems like a great topic to write about.
The implications of football in American life run deep. Football is analogous to many things: warfare, battle, teamwork, discipline, mental toughness, physical courage, strategy, tactics, and of course, leadership.
"Let us stop being selfish…to the ideas of the common good and of our existence, everything must be sacrificed." —General Jose de San Martin
"The important thing to recognize is that it takes a team, and the team ought to get credit for the wins and the losses." - Philip Caldwell
Most of us are leaders in some facet of our lives. Any police officer who doesn't think of himself or herself as a leader is just plain wrong. I doubt that a cop who is also a parent could argue being a parent isn't about leadership, because it most certainly is.
"The Leader must himself believe that willing obedience beats forced obedience, and that he can get this only by really knowing what should be done." - Xenophon, 360 BC
"Time is neutral, but it can be made the ally of those who will seize it and use it to the full." — Sir Winston Churchill
"Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it, and then move on." — Bob Newhart
You can't call a relationship "friendship" until it has gone through adversity and you know that the person is really your friend. That can also be applied to leadership.
Only you know your leadership situation. Whether you are the chief of police or an officer on the beat, you should know your area of responsibility and what is required of you when the "big one" hits, whatever that catastrophe may be.
Sgt. Mark Stainbrook was recently interviewed by a fellow officer. Here he shares his answers to questions about leadership.
"It is hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse." - Adlai Stevenson
"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future." – Eric Hoffer
Cops are by definition storytellers. We deal with a situation, then go back to the station or to our vehicles, gather our thoughts, and tell the story in the form of a report.
"There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind."- Buddha
Watch the leaders, or those in leadership positions, and you will learn much as a student of leadership. I try to key in on how supervisors address groups of officers and I always look to see how the officers respond.
What is so great about a New Year is that it is a time for fresh starts and a time to renew your commitments. Hopefully it will be a time to step up your commitment to the study and practice of good leadership for the benefit of your department and your people.
As leaders we dread the word. You make a decision, you issue an order, you write a policy, and then someone inevitably approaches you with that one-word question.